10 things we learned by placing Onyx Beacons at IBM InterConnect 2015 in Las Vegas

Posted by Doru Supeala / Friday April 17th, 2015 / Categories: iBeacon / 2 Comments

Onyx Beacon conducted recently its first large-scale deployment implemented on a large and prestigious event of international scope. We placed a complex infrastructure of 50 Beacons controlled by the Onyx Beacon CMS at the largest high technology conference organized by IBM in America, InterConnect 2015.

This was a four-day event, which has seen more than 20,000 participants that witnessed the future, reinvention and innovations of cloud, mobile, DevOps, security and more. This event included over two thousands technical sessions, 42 tracks, 8 streams, and 3 general sessions and was hosted by Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand resorts in Las Vegas at the end of February.

It was an intense, complex and meaningful experience, which gave us the opportunity to understand a variety of specific situations of mass influx in public events, to experience different use cases for our beacons and to understand different ways to communicate to users and to collect relevant data and statistics.

 1 Beacon One, placed on the official sign of the event, in the hotel lobby. Foto by Onyx BeaconFoto: Beacon One, placed on the official sign of the event, in the hotel lobby

Here are the 10 key findings we gained through this experience and we would like to share these ideas with you, in order to improve your future projects in the sector of public events.

1.      Create a complete event scenario

Build a complete scenario script before the entire event, considering its program and agenda. Anticipate, define clearly the schedule segments, imaginate where the groups of participants will be hour by hour and minute by minute.

Try to imagine on what will they focus their attention on every defined interval of time, and what types of interaction expectations have they regarding the event’s program. This is the first strategic step for an effective use of the iBeacon technology in your event.

2.      Think about full coverage

Try to cover with your scenario all the 24 hours of a day, the whole period of the event and all the areas where the attendees will walk during the event. In addition to the areas where the event takes place, you must include in the sectors covered by beacons also the accommodation, entertainment and leisure sectors, the restaurants, lounges, bars and cafes, and even the vehicles that provide transportation of participants between locations.

3.      Use a detailed map

Get or create a complete map of the entire location hosting the event and the attendees, study carefully the dimensions of the rooms, the layout of the furniture, accessories and event mobile infrastructure and study walls’ thickness.

This map will help you to intelligently place the entire communications infrastructure and insure that all your iBeacon devices are perfectly functioning and fulfill their roles.

1 Beacons infrastructure, covering the public spaces of the event locations. Foto by Onyx Beacon

Foto: Beacons infrastructure, covering the public spaces of the event locations

 4.      Create a powerful communications plan

Try to segment the general audience according to the program of the event and the special sessions included in the program. Use the aforementioned scenarios and draw relevant and meaningful sub-programs of communication for each identified audience segment.

Try to put yourself in the place of guests and imagine what messages / offers / coupons / incentives would they like to receive and what might pleasantly surprise them. Synchronize your messaging master plan through mobile applications and beacons with the general program of the event. After defining these segments, you will be able to deliver customized and efficient messages using the iBeacon CMS (Content Management System).

5.      Smart and effective layout of beacons

Create a beacons’ layout that covers all the areas, all the scenarios and all the needs mentioned in your communications plan. Calculate precisely the range of action for each beacon, ensure complete coverage of all areas and avoid duplication of coverage for the beacons belonging to different groups (tags) and which will have to carry different messages and to reach different targets.

This layout will also help you, at the end of the event, to recover all your equipments.

6.      Take advantage of “dead times” You already know that in all “dead” moments, meaning those segments of time in which nothing important happens, all eyes are on the screens of phones and tablets. Take advantage of the breaks between sessions, the periods in which visitors are transported from one place to another and the moments spent by them in common areas.

For this purpose, place beacons in buses, lounges, cafes, restaurants and hotels’ hallways.

1 Different Beacon positions in the event area. Foto by Onyx BeaconFoto: Different Onyx Beacon positionings in the event area

 7.      Preserve/protect your beacons

Surely you do not need and do not want unpleasant surprises, like remaining “voiceless” when the event reaches its maximum intensity. When you place the beacons, make sure you place them in positions in which they can deliver signal without obstruction or distortion, but at the same time they should be masked by some elements of decor or be placed at a sufficient height.

Participants in such events are funny guys, very passionate about technology, extremely curious and creative and they will definitely want to know what are these tiny-trendy-toys and especially to discover what lies beneath their nice casing.

8.      Be relevant and engaging

Adapt your entire communication plan to the context of the event and to the participants’ typology. Fully understand and assume their insight. Generously forward them valuable information, entertainment and incentives. Avoid spamming your guests, carefully adjust the intensity and typology of contents sent to them.

Offer them a pleasant experience and useful and interesting information that they will appreciate and voluntarily distribute to their colleagues, friends and social networks. Live the event together with them and adapt your content delivered through iBeacon CMS depending on the quality of moments that take place. Use humor, creativity and positive thinking to rapidely fix the difficult or tensioned moments.

9.      Be optimistic when planning your communication

At this year’s edition of IBM InterConnect we discovered with big pleasure that the public exceeded the most optimistic expectations in terms of adapting to new technologies,  professional quality and individual attitude. 97% of participants have downloaded the mobile app specially built for the occasion, and 80% of them actively used this application, opening their Bluetooth connection and receiving the content created by the organizers.

The penetration of Bluetooth Low Energy technology among participants at the event was surprisingly good, a huge majority of participants holding mobile terminals capable of data transfer via Bluetooth Smart Technology. Also, the rate of engagement achieved through mobile application was excellent, being double than the initial expectations of the organizers, which confirms that interactivity through mobile applications is just at the beginning of a spectacular worldwide journey.

1 Beacon One discretely inserted in a directional banner. Foto by Onyx BeaconFoto: Beacon One discretely inserted in a directional banner

 10.  Analyse data and project your next steps

The beacons infrastructure administrated by our iBeacon CMS is offering a rich database of analytics, regarding the participants’ quality, behaviour and interests. All this very accurate information could be very valuable for your future marketing plans and programs.

At the same time, this data could be very useful in order to improve the layouts, the communications techniques and the marketing content for your future activities.

1 Enterprise Beacon placed at the entrance in The Grand garden Arena, before the Aerosmith concert. Foto by Onyx BeaconFoto: Enterprise Beacon placed at the entrance in The Grand Garden Arena, before the Aerosmith concert

+++ Bonus idea: Build the future

At the end of the event, when your guests are leaving the Grand Garden Arena, where the rockers from Aerosmith offered an extraordinary show, make sure that you extract the well-deserved benefits of a successful event and you capitalize on the enthusiasm generated by an energizing concert.

Exactely when they are leaving the concerts hall, send to the participants an invitation to your next event or a “take it or leave it” offer with an attractive discount for your newest or next product.

1 Our Enterprise Beacon at the exit of Grand Garden Arena after the Aerosmith concert. Foto by Onyx BeaconFoto: Our Enterprise Beacon at the exit of Grand Garden Arena after the Aerosmith concert

Onyx Beacon participated in this event through a partnership with AllianceTech, one of the market leaders in organizing and monitoring events within United States. Many Fortune 500 companies usually select Alliance Tech to meet their attendance tracking needs in public conferences and fairs.

We are grateful to our partners at AllianceTech for their confidence, support and excellent collaboration in this partnership.

 1 Aerosmith concert, an extraordinary experience. Our beacons were there, trust us. Foto by Onyx Beacon

Foto: Aerosmith concert, an extraordinary experience. Our beacons were there, trust us.

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